Figuring out how to choose the best website builder for your website is a tough and often all too confusing process. It’s tough to do a simple comparison because there is no such thing as an absolute “best website builder.” There is only the website builder that is right for you considering all the pros & cons.
The tradeoffs include, but are not limited to, your budget, your technical knowledge, the features you need, and how long you need your website.
Summary – Best Website Builder if you want…
Based on my experience working with many website builders, there are a few that are a good fit for most people. They all have free plans available to try. Here’s a summary of the companies included in the quiz.
Focused on something specific?
This website builder comparison quiz takes all the most common considerations and maps out the answers to the top website builder choices. It includes the best website builders with eCommerce options.
Take the quiz and see who fits your needs the best. They all have free plans – so if you aren’t sure, be sure to try them out yourself!
Best Website Builder Quiz
Other Website Builders
Website builders are a dime a dozen on the Internet. Here are other best website builders that I’ve used that might be a good fit for your project.
Shopify is 100% focused on eCommerce & small business. They have a full toolset to help get your store online.
GATOR Website Builder
A really versatile option from HostGator (a traditional hosting company). Excellent onboarding and pricing with self-hosting included.
A very limited option, but also very convenient. It also integrates seamlessly with GoDaddy domain and small business products.
The original blog website builder. They are owned by Google, but still ticking along for anyone that wants a traditional blog.
Squarespace is a name brand in the website builder industry. Their builder has a focus on beautiful default templates w/ access to coding features..
Jimdo is a very popular website builder out of Europe. They comply with all of the EU’s data laws out of the box. The builder is also pretty solid with a few key downsides.
Duda is a website builder focuses on agencies & software providers. They build a website builder to be sold or bundled with other products. However, the builder is available as a stand-alone product, and is pretty solid.
Site123 is a very straightforward, simple site builder. It also has a free plan with limitations. The builder does not have as many options as other direct competitors, but it’s very simple to use.
Website Creator is an interesting “overlay” builder for self-hosted WordPress. It’s a website builder app that allow you to use self-hosted WordPress (and all the control benefits of it) but have drag & drop design of traditional web builders. If you are curious about self-hosted WordPress, and would like to get a free trial setup – you can check out the ShivarWeb Sandbox for WordPress here.
What to Look for in a Website Builder
Website builders exist on a spectrum, and the builder that makes sense for you depends on what you really need out of it.
Think about when you are choosing a car. The core need is to get from point A to point B. With an website builder, you need a place for your website to “live”, a toolset to help you create the right design, and the ability to edit content. That’s it. But like car selection – there’s more to it. Here’s the most common considerations to look at when choosing your “top” or “best website builder.”
Ecommerce options are basically inventory, a shopping cart and the ability to accept payment. Some website builders integrate, and some offer it as an upgrade (sometimes paid and sometimes free). If you don’t need ecommerce right now, then it widens your options. If eCommerce is a high priority for you – I actually recommend taking the ecommerce platform quiz here.
Budget & Pricing
Free is not necessarily cheap and expensive is not necessarily the best. However, budget does provide some parameters. Think about when you go car shopping – if a salesman knows you have a maximum budget of $20,000, they can at least rule out the Ferrari.
Drag & Drop Functionality
Most all website builders start with a “theme” or “template” as the design foundation. You can then use any editor to customize to your liking. However, some allow for drag and drop customization. Some people like it, and some prefer to customize within set parameters.
Related to the drag and drop are the pre-made templates. Some website builders have basic templates that you customize. Some offer beautiful, professionally designed templates that you aren’t really supposed to customize much.
The best websites aren’t always a click, click, done process. But if you need something quick and basic, then a fast setup might be exactly what you want.
Length of Project
If your website will be around for a while, you want to optimize for the long-term and use a website builder than provides either a good foundation or options to upgrade. If it’s a short term project, then you should optimize for speed and convenience.
On a related note, even if you want to optimize for speed and convenience now, do you want to have the option to migrate to a longer-term website platform? If not, again, you can optimize purely for speed and convenience.
SEO & Marketing Options
Most website owners want their websites to be found. Website builders as a whole have come leaps & bounds from 10 years ago in regards to SEO (search engine optimization). But you should still confirm that their development team is aware of basic SEO features plus any marketing features that you know you’ll want (email, social, tracking, etc).
A blog is simply webpages listed in reverse chronological order. However, most blogging platforms make creating new posts fast and automatically formatted in a certain way. Some website builders do not have strong blogging functionality – they focus on creating a series of static pages.
This consideration is straightforward – if you get stuck do you want to email/call someone or are you comfortable Googling the answer. Keep in mind that customer support costs money.